April 7, 4:00 MT, University of Utah
Qualifying to nationals: Top 2 teams, top 2 all-arounders not on advancing teams, any event winners not on advancing teams
Teams (starting event)
 Utah (floor)
 Cal (beam)
 Auburn (bye before floor)
 BYU (bye before bars)
 Stanford (bars)
 Southern Utah (vault)
Kelley Hebert, UC Davis (AA)
Alexis Brown, UC Davis (AA)
Annie Juarez, Sacramento State (AA)
Caitlin Soliwoda, Sacramento State (AA)
Ellie Pascoe-Long, San Jose State (VT, FX)
Taylor Chan, San Jose State (VT, FX)
Kaitlin Won, San Jose State (UB)
Gabby Landess, UC Davis (UB)
Courtney Soliwoda, Sacramento State (BB)
Stephanie Relova, San Jose State (BB)
36 years and counting. Utah is the only team to have advanced to NCAA gymnastics nationals in all 36 years in which that has been a thing that exists. (Alabama’s streak is 35 years, just missing 1982.) That streak will end one day, but this should not be the day. Utah comes in as the host of this regional and the definite favorite to advance in first place.
Utah may have slightly less margin for error in the quest to win this regional, having lost to Cal earlier this year and finishing .400 ahead of Cal at Pac-12s, but Utah will nonetheless expect a hit-meet advantage somewhere around 7 tenths over anyone else. That means Utah will still be able to advance with a slightly off meet (as shown in that Pac-12s performance) and likely advance even if counting a fall. Multiple things would have to go wrong for this to get interesting.
I expect Utah will enjoy this rotation order, even though floor-to-beam is totally the worst order, because beam is still the biggest question mark for the Utes in terms of confidence in hitting and the lineup (Burch or Soloski?). It’s also the one event where Cal outscored Utah at Pac-12s—and probably Auburn’s best event as well. If everything goes to plan, Utah will have used 49.4s to build up enough of a margin with the other three events that it takes pressure off the beam performance. We’ll know if Utah has the luxury of counting a fall before the team goes to beam.
In this second half of the six regionals, we enter meets where there’s a real ranking difference between the #2 and #3 seeds built on actual advantages/weaknesses exposed during the season, less like the total 50-50 affairs we see in the 12-13 and 11-14 regionals. In this one, Cal will enter as a favorite befitting its 7-spot ranking advantage, though not a prohibitive favorite. There’s not a fall between these teams. More like a couple landings. Continue reading Salt Lake City Regional Preview